Hogar Nimmo

Trip Start Dec 07, 2005
Trip End Apr 10, 2007

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Looking for a place to stay in Colonia,
There is a woman who rents an apartment right by the gas station
Its about US$10 a night (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. cable TV)best deal in town
Call her at 24737 Colonia Uruguay
Hello folks,

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Colonia, Uruguay, for a week and change. We were able to spend all our afternoons at the hogar Nimmo, which is a home for
abandoned children that is right outside the town. The same organization also runs a home for older kids that is right in town, so as kids get old enough (and mature enough), they move to the home in Colonia.

We first heard about the hogar Nimmo from the lady who worked at a small sandwich stand--you might remember her from a previous post here...she is married to the man that rents scooters and bicycles. Anyway, we used the same tactic that got us our connections in ñeuquen: we headed to the social ministry. There a couple of helpful ladies made phone calls and set up and appointment with Alicia, the director of hogar Nimmo, for us.

So we headed out to meet Alicia on Friday afternoon, and explained our trip and that we´d like to help out in any way she needed. She explained that they were pretty well staffed, but welcomed us to come and spend time with the kids in the afternoons after their siesta. after our meeting, we met some of the kids (who gave us a tour of the grounds and introduced us to their two pigs, half a dozen cows, twenty plus chickens, four cats, and four dogs) and hung out for awhile.

We had a great time playing with the kids during the week (they ranged from 1 year and 2 months to about 16 or 17, but most of them were in elementary or middle school). enso, a four year old who had been left alone in an apartment with his younger sister until he escaped to a neighbor´s, spent a lot of time on my shoulders. it was a little chaotic with about 35 kids running around and about 6 or 7 adults, but
things seemed to run pretty smoothly.

On Wednesday, the two twin girls turned 2 and we all sat down in a shared dining room to celebrate with cake. Alicia´s sister had recently gotten married, and donated the top of her wedding cake for the occasion. so after we sang ¨feliz cumpleaños¨, we cut the cake and passed it around. as the kids dug in, we started to see some confused faces around the room, and most switched from the inside of the cake to just eating the frosting. the room began to smell slightly like nail polish remover, and after a couple of rum-soaked bites of cake, i could see why the kids were concentrating their efforts on the frosting. in the end, we threw away a lot of wedding cake while the kids finished piles of frosting and milk. the two-year old twins both ate their pieces of cake and seemed to love it, though.

We hit a couple of rainy days towards the end of the week, meaning playtime was inside. luckily, Daniela brought her origami skills to bear, and she was able to hold a few classes before dinner. A couple days later, i picked up a few frogs and swans from the ground, testament to how the kids were carrying their creations everywhere. success. Daniela also led a mask-making class with paper plates, crayons and string, which went well and produced at least half a dozen young spider man interpolators jumping around the room.

We also had a good time hanging out with the ´aunts´ (women who work at the hogar taking care of the kids and whom the kids call their aunts) and with some of the other kids who were there volunteering. In particular, we met a girl from Argentina named Carla who was just beginning 9 months of volunteer work at hogar Nimmo. We had a good time talking to her about Argentina and Uruguay (who are in a heated argument about building a paper factory on the river that serves as the border between them), school, the hogar, our experiences so far, and life in general. The three of us also went to Montevideo for a day trip before Daniela and i left.

These amazing little ones were happy with holding our hands, or being held by us. The top requests were, ¨Could you please push me on the swing?¨ or, ¨could i get a piggyback ride?¨. There were not 5 minutes that went by that we didn´t get aleast 10 hugs and several ´¨ i love yous¨. They asked us all kinds of questions about our lives back home, and once again ¨why are you guys at war?¨ it seems to be one of the hardest to explain to such a young child, when there is no answer.

It was hard to leave our new friends and all of the kids who had so quickly accepted us and trusted us, and we haven´t eliminated the thought of returning someday. In the meantime, if anyone wants to adopt a child or two (or seven...the hogar will only allow
people to adopt brothers and sisters as a group), we can recommend a place in Uruguay.
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